We built an experimental apparatus which is able to produce a gas of Strontium atoms at ultra-low temperature T ~ 0.5µK in a microscopic confined volume (atomic trap). Our plan is to use ultra-cold Sr atoms as a quantum sensor to measure forces at micrometric distances from macroscopic source masses. In particular, our main goal is to investigate 1/r2 Newton's law in this range of length scales. This experiment is motivated by a number of recent theories beyond the Standard Model which suggest that gravity may deviate from Newton's law at sub millimeter length scales (hierarchy problem).
This experiment offers a novel competitive technique with respect to the present classical experiments which are based essentially on micro cantilevers or torsion pendula. The strong point of using atoms is the microscopic size of the force sensor which becomes smaller or comparable with length scales under investigation. Furthermore, using atoms as a quantum sensor opens the way for a future generation of experiments where the quantum mechanics will ultimately bring a dramatic improvement over the present classical techniques.